Accession Number:



The Operational Artist: A Politico-Military Opportunities Provider

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Civil-military relationships suffer from a double issue. On the one hand, the military tends to only look at the military objective rather than the political one or, more precisely, to resist the change of the military aim when the political one evolves. At the same time, to preserve the sacrosanct civilian control, civilian leaders are reluctant to concede to the military the ability, and thus the role, of contributing to the strategy. This mistrust creates a divide that directly impacts the effectiveness of the strategy. Although this divide can be explained by a theoretical and historical heritage, this situation is no more satisfactory, but also irrelevant in the 21st century context of limited conflicts and complex operational environment. A more balanced relationship, where the operational artist negotiates the strategy with the politicians and contributes to the elaboration and the refinement of the political aim, is possible. Through the case studies of General Abrams in the Vietnam War especially the Cambodian incursion, and General Schwarzkopf during the First Gulf War, this monograph shows where and who the operational artist should be to play this greater role in a renewed civil-military relation. It demonstrates that, as long as he is granted the proper authority and responsibility, and is politically aware and compatible, the operational artist does not only address military options, but is also a politico-military opportunities provider.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]